Is Roman Catholicism of God?

The last chapter of the Bible contains a most solemn warning:

  “I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book. If any man shall add unto these things God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Rev. 22:18-19)

Nothing can be more solemn or searching than this Scripture. We are assured that every addition to God’s word is at the same time a taking away from it. Every addition must be a tampering with God’s revealed word, and therefore to its detriment. What has Roman Catholicism to say to this?


Hear what an accredited Roman Catholic author writes:

  “HOLY SCRIPTURE has never sufficed in itself; it always stood in need of DIVINE TRADITION: for it is only by Divine Tradition that we learn that Holy Scripture is an inspired book. It is only Tradition that can give with authority and certainty the right meaning of Holy Scripture” (Catholic Belief,* Very Rev. J.Faà Di Bruno, D.D., 35th edition, p. 23).
{*With preface by Cardinal Manning, Archbishop of Westminster, expressing his full agreement with, and thankfulness for, this volume.}
  “HOLY SCRIPTURE and the TRADITION just described are both the Word of God” (Catholic Belief, p. 10).

One stands aghast on the threshold of our enquiry at such a statement as this. The latter extract puts Romish Tradition on a level with the Word of God. The former extract, indeed, puts Tradition on a higher level than the Word of God, for it states that only by Tradition can we know that the Bible is inspired.

If the Papists were right in saying that the Roman Catholic Church is the only divinely authorised exponent of the Scriptures, then all questionings would be settled. But is it so? The Council of Trent (1545-1563) decreed that:

  “No one confiding in his own judgment shall dare to wrest the sacred Scriptures to his own sense of them contrary to that which has been held, and still is held, by holy Mother Church, whose right it is to judge of the true meaning and interpretation of sacred writ.”

It then proceeded to anathematise any who would dare to read the Scriptures for themselves. Such were to be denounced by the ordinaries and punished according to law. It shows how little these things were really held in estimation, even by their own promulgators, that Cardinal Hosius, who was appointed president of the said Council of Trent, declared in one of his polemical writings, that were it not for the authority of the Church, the Scriptures would have no more weight with him than the fables of Æosop. Bailly, the Jesuit, was no better, when he declared that without the authority of the Church, he would believe St. Matthew no more than he would believe Titus Livius.

Rome accepts the Apocrypha, thus polluting the purity of God’s Holy Word. This was settled by the Council of Trent. We read:

  “That Council, in its fourth session, decreed the divine authority of the Apocrypha, notwithstanding that the books are not found in the Hebrew Bible, were not received as canonical by the Jews, are never quoted by Christ or His apostles, were repudiated by the early Christian fathers, and contain within themselves manifold proofs that they are not inspired. At the same moment that the Church of Rome was exposing herself to the curse pronounced on those who shall add to the words of inspiration, she pronounced an anathema on all who should refuse to take part with her in the iniquity of maintaining the divine authority of the Apocrypha” (The Papacy, Dr. Wylie, pp. 173-174).

We are told that not one of the bishops at the Council of Trent knew Hebrew, and only a few Greek. And yet this incompetent body of men decreed that the Apocrypha was to be received as on an equality with the Scriptures upon pain of anathema.

  “This fatal decree … was ratified by fifty-three prelates, among whom was not one scholar distinguished for historical learning, not one who was fitted by special study to deal with a subject in which the truth could be determined by a careful examination of the records of antiquity … a decision equally untrue morally and historically” (Bible in the Church, The late Bishop Westcott).

And as to Tradition, Abbe Migne made a compilation of the decrees of councils and writings of the decrees of councils and writings of the ancients in 220 thick volumes, and called it “The Catholic Tradition.”

Tradition is indeed mountainous. We read:

  “To the Scriptures the Roman Catholic adds, first, the Apocrypha; second, traditions; third, acts and decisions of the Church, embracing numerous of the popes’ bulls, ten folio volumes of decretals, thirty-one folio volumes of acts of councils, fifty-one volumes of the Acta Sanctorum, or the doings and sayings of saints; fourth, add to these at least thirty-five volumes of the Greek and Latin fathers, in which, he says, is to be found the unanimous consent* of the fathers; fifth, to all these one hundred and thirty-five folio volumes add the chaos of unwritten traditions which have floated to us down from the apostolic times. But we must not stop here; for the expositions of every priest and bishop must be added. The truth is, such a rule is no rule; unless an endless and contradictory mass of uncertainties could be a rule. No Romanist can soberly believe, much less learn, his own rule of faith” (Delineation of Romanism, Elliott, p. 13. London, 1851).
{*It is well known that the fathers were anything but unanimous.}

The question may well be asked, Are these mountains of chaff to be dug through before Christ can be found? None but knaves and fools could pretend to think so.

We all know the taunt of the Traditionalist devotee: “Where was your Church before Martin Luther?” And what is the answer? The Scriptures were in existence before there was any Church of Rome. The Church of God is older than the Church of Rome. The Church of Rome contains very many members who are not members of the Church of God. The Church of God was founded on the Day of Pentecost, and consists of every true believer on the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord and who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. The answer to the question, ‘Where was your Church before Martin Luther?’ is answered by the retort, ‘Where was your face before it was washed?’ Evidently the Church’s face badly needed washing when the Reformation arrived and the face of the Church was washed by that wonderful movement of the Spirit of God. The Church existed before the washing and goes back without a break before the Romish church existed at all.

If we reject the utterly foolish claim of Romish Tradition as being our warrant for believing the Scriptures to be the Word of God, on what then do we base our belief? Our answer is that the Bible claims inspiration for itself. We read:

  “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Out of twenty-seven chapters in the Book of Leviticus no less than twenty chapters begin with the words, “And the Lord spake unto Moses,” a very full-claiming of inspiration surely. Nay, more, our Lord often quoted from the Old Testament, the only Scriptures at that time, as being authoritative and the inspired word of God. Our Lord freely quoted from the Books of Moses, the Psalms and the Prophets. The New Testament freely quotes, too, from the Old Testament as inspired. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, all quote the Old Testament as inspired.

We read:

  “The Word of God is quick [that is, living] and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

Millions of Christians all down the centuries, of all classes and nationalities, can claim that the Word of God has been living and powerful in their cases. It was used to their being convicted of sin, and to their being led to trust the Saviour, and when they trusted Him they found the inward peace and joy that God alone can give. The Word of God proves itself. God has watched over it, used servant after servant in the writing of it, infused it with His own Spirit throughout, watched over it, guarded it from daring hands that would fain destroy it. We can but throw out these fragmentary thoughts on the subject, and continue with our examination.

At the very outset of our enquiry Roman Catholicism stands condemned in setting up a tribunal, claimed by them to be superior to the Word of the living God. Knowing this, it is not surprising that …


Of course Roman Catholicism can point to certain of their writings where the reading of the Scriptures is enjoined. If these statements were carried into effect, all would be well. But of what use are these statements, if their practice is the exact opposite of it?

Listen to the 4th rule of the congregation of “The Index of Prohibited books,” approved of by Pope Pius IV and still in force:

  “Since it is manifest by experience that if the Holy Bible in the vulgar tongue be suffered to be read everywhere without distinction, more evil than good arises, let the judgment of the bishop or inquisitor be abided by in this respect, so that after consulting with the parish priest or confessor, they may grant permission to read translations of the Scriptures, made by Catholic writers, to those whom they understand to be able to receive no harm, but an increase of faith and piety from such reading (which faculty let them have in writing). But whosoever shall presume to read these Bibles, or have them in possession without such faculty, shall not be capable of receiving absolution for their sins, unless they have first given up their Bible to the ordinary*” (Rome, the Antagonist of the Nation, Rev. J.M.Foster. The Fundamentals, vol. II, ch.7, p. 114).
{*The ordinary is the Bishop or his Deputy.}

This does not look like encouraging the reading of the Scriptures. Roman Catholicism takes away with one hand what she offers with the other. Is this honest? Here is a book given to us by God Himself, containing the message of salvation to a world of sinners, a Book telling us about the precious blood of Christ cleansing from all sin, and yet a Romanist, to have it in his possession without the written permission of the Church, is guilty of very serious crime, so much so that he cannot receive absolution for his sins.

Here is an account of Rome in practice. Father Chiniquy, a well-known Canadian priest, who afterwards was forced to leave the Church of Rome for conscience sake, narrates how, when he was a child, a priest, the Revd. Mr. Courtois, visited his father. Addressing him, the priest said:

  “‘Mr. Chiniquy, is it true that you and your child read the Bible?’
  “‘Yes, sir,’ was the quick reply, ‘my little boy and I read the Scriptures, and what is still better, he has learned by heart a great number of its most interesting chapters. If you will allow it, Mr. Curate, he will give you some of them.’
  “‘I did not come for that purpose,’ abruptly replied the priest, ‘but do you not know that you are forbidden by the Holy Council of Trent to read the Bible in French?’
  “‘It makes little difference to me whether I read the Bible in French, Greek or Latin,’ answered my father, ‘for I understand these languages equally well.’
  “‘But are you ignorant of the fact that you cannot allow your child to read the Bible?’ replied the priest.
  “‘My wife directs her own child in the reading of the Bible, and I cannot see that we commit any crime by continuing in the future what we have done till now in that matter.’
  “‘Mr. Chiniquy,’ replied the priest, ‘you have gone through a whole course of theology; you know the duties of a curate; you know it is my painful duty to come here, get the Bible from you, and BURN IT.’
  “My father was pacing the room by this time with a double-quick step. His lips were pale and trembling and he was muttering between his teeth words which were unintelligible to any one of us.
  “The priest was closely watching all my father’s movements; his hands were convulsively pressing his heavy cane, and his face was giving the sure evidence of a too well-grounded terror. It was clear that the ambassador of Rome did not find himself infallibly sure of his position on the ground that he had so foolishly chosen to take; since his last words, he had remained as silent as the tomb.
  “At last, after having paced the room for a considerable time, my father suddenly stopped before the priest and said, ‘Sir, is that all you have to say here?’
  “‘Yes, sir,’ said the trembling priest.
  “‘Well, sir,’ added my father, ‘you know the door by which you entered my house. Please take the same door, and go away quickly.’
  “The priest went out immediately. I felt an inexpressible joy when I saw that my Bible was safe” (Fifty years in the Church of Rome, pp. 19-20).

How different is the atmosphere of Scripture! We read from that Book:

  “Blessed is he that reads and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein” (Rev. 1:3).
  “Blessed are they that read,” says the Scripture. Cursed is he that reads, says Rome. Can such a system be rightly call Christian?

How beautiful is the case of the youthful Timothy. The Apostle Paul wrote approvingly of him:

  “From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make thee WISE UNTO SALVATION through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).

Not only Timothy, but also his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, are spoken of as having “unfeigned faith.” One can well imagine these godly women encouraging the child Timothy to read the Scriptures. The Apostle rejoiced that he had had free access to them.

There is a particularly beautiful verse in the Bible:

  “There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel with the women and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them” (Joshua 8:35).

The solicitude that not only all the congregation should hear, but also that “the little ones” and the “strangers” should participate in the communications that God had for them is very beautiful, and stands in vivid contrast to the Roman Catholic’s attitude to the Bible.

The writer has known of full-grown men, who had never read a Bible till the grace of God reached them in saving power, and delivered them from priestly tyranny, which would cruelly withhold from them the Word of God.

The following is strange reading:

  “A curious thing happened at the so-called Ecumenical Council, held in the Vatican in 1869-1870, at which the infallibility of the Pope was decreed. Dōllinger and Dupanloup, in supporting their arguments against the insensate proposal, wished to refer to some passages of Scripture; but no one had a Bible in the whole Council, nor could one be procured for them within the bounds of the Church, so one had to be borrowed from the Protestant chaplain of the Prussian Embassy” (The Roman Catholic Church in Italy, p. 221).

The writer endeavoured recently to secure a copy of the Douay Bible in the large and well-appointed Book Depository of the Catholic Truth Society in a capital city, and they had not a single copy on sale.

There is nothing that the Roman Catholics dread so much as the people having free access to the Scriptures in the vulgar tongue; that is, in their own language. In contrast to the many editions of the Scriptures published in Great Britain and U.S.A., Roman Catholicism has shown its reluctance to circulate the Scriptures by only producing, so far as we know, one Bible in the English tongue, viz., the Douay Bible, the New Testament published in Rheims in 1582, the Old Testament in Douay in 1609. Seeing Gutenberg invented cut metal types for printing about 1450, and Caxton set up the first printing press in England in 1470, one cannot think that the Roman Catholics were anything but reluctant to circulate the Bible in the language of the people, when they allowed a century or more to elapse before they did so, and then hedged it about with limitations that were tantamount to the withholding of the precious word of God.

  “He that withholds corn, the people shall curse him” (Prov. 11:26).

How much more so when the word of the living God is withheld. Since 1816 four pontiffs in succession have stated to the world that by the reading of the Scriptures in the vulgar tongue, “the very foundations of their religion are undermined.” With this we can most heartily agree. It does indeed undermine false Romish religion whilst establishing the true faith of Christ.


It is the proud boast of Roman Catholicism that the Church of God is founded on St. Peter, and that there is no salvation outside of it. We read:

  “The Pope is the Universal Pastor, because Jesus Christ said to St. Peter, the first Pope, ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church, and I will give to thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.’ Therefore all those who do not recognise the Roman Pontiff as their head do not belong to the Church of Jesus Christ” (The Catholic Faith, a compendium authorised by H. H. Pope Pius X, p. 19).

Place this beside Scripture and it will be seen how utterly false this claim is, what an insult it is to the blessed Son of God; what a shameless perversion of the very letter of Scripture. There must be many erudite Greek scholars in the Church of Rome, who must know that Scripture does not support this claim.

The Scripture says:

  “Thou art Peter [petros, masculine] and upon this rock [petra, feminine] I will build My Church.”

It is plain that the Church is built upon petra, and not upon petros. The words are plain and simple and incapable of any other meaning. A reliable Greek dictionary gives the following meanings of these words:
  PETROS, a piece of rock, a stone PETRA, a rock, a crag
  A stone is not a rock, but a piece of rock.
  We can build on a rock, but not on a stone.

A reliable English dictionary gives the following meanings:
  STONE, a large mass of earthy or mineral
  ROCK, a large mass of stone matter;
  the hard material out of which the rock consists

Scripture itself gives us the meaning of Peter’s new name:

  “And when Jesus beheld him, He said, Thou art Simon, the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone (Greek, petros)” (John 1:42).

It is very singular that the word petros only occurs in this passage, John 1:42, other than being enshrined many times in the name, Peter. On the contrary, the word for rock, Greek petra, occurs fifteen times. It is used of the rock on which a man builded his house (Matt. 7:24), he would surely not build his house on a stone; of the rocks rending, when our Lord died (Matt. 27:51); of “The rock of offence,” clearly Christ Himself (Rom. 9:33); and of hiding in the rocks of the mountains (Rev. 6:15), not hiding in the stones of the mountains but in caves, etc.

It will be seen how ridiculous it would be to use the word petros, a stone, and not petra, a rock, in these instances. The use of the word Cephas, meaning rock-man, is interesting, as showing that Peter was not the rock, but a rock-MAN, as being one built into the one and only foundation, Jesus Christ Himself.

St. Augustine in his day stressed clearly the difference between Petros and petra, expounding as follows:

  “Thou art Petros, and on this petra which thou hast confessed, saying, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God, will I build My Church: that is to say, on Myself. I will build thee on Myself, not Myself on thee.”

So this early Father contradicts the fantastic claim of Rome.

It is upon petra, the great rock foundation that Christ builds His Church, not upon Peter, for Peter was a stone built into the foundation in common with ALL believers from that day to this.

One verse of Scripture for ever shatters Rome’s claim that the Church is built upon Peter. We read:

  “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is JESUS CHRIST” (1 Cor. 3:11).

The Church is clearly founded on Jesus Christ, whom Peter confessed in the ever-memorable words,

  “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16).

Every believer truly making this confession along with Peter is built on THE ONE AND ONLY FOUNDATION, JESUS CHRIST.

In a secondary sense the Church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, but Scripture takes care to emphasise who has the pre-eminence,


But remark that it is not only Peter who is the foundation here, but ALL the apostles and prophets. They lay the foundation in their labours for Christ whether orally or by the inspired writings, but the foundation on which they build is the only foundation, the Lord Jesus Christ. That Peter makes no claim to be the foundation on which Christ builds His Church is clearly seen. He writes of the Lord Jesus:

  “To whom coming as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ … Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believes on Him shall not be confounded” (1 Peter 2:4-6).

Please note that Peter came to the living stone, and here he tells believers, that they also are living stones, and are built up a spiritual house, Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone.

We have always thought that the Romish Church was very unfortunate in its choice of Peter. First he was the one Apostle who denied his Lord with oaths and cursing, saying, “I know not the man.” Then in the very same chapter in which our Lord said to Peter that on this rock He would build His Church, we have the record of our Lord saying to him,

  “Get thee behind me, Satan, thou art an offence unto Me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matt. 16:23).

We remember a striking incident of an open-air preacher, well known to the writer, a converted Roman Catholic, being heckled by a Roman Catholic hearer. The heckler asked with a great air of triumph, as if he would completely floor the speaker, “What did our Lord say to St. Peter?” meaning that the Church was founded on Peter. Swiftly and crushingly came the answer, “Our Lord said to St. Peter, ‘Get thee behind Me, Satan,’” leaving the heckler a sadder, if not a wiser man.

Then again, Peter was the only Apostle of whom we have the record that he had a wife. This is unfortunate, seeing that wives are denied to his supposed successors, as the Popes claim to be. The Epistle to the Galatians cannot be pleasant reading to Roman Catholics, for in it we find the record of the Apostle Paul withstanding Peter to the face because of his cowardice and dissembling (see Gal. 2:11-12).

Peter, too, is described as the Apostle of the Circumcision, showing that his mission was to labour among the Jews, just as Paul’s commission was to labour among the Gentiles. We might well ask, Why should an Apostle, holding a much higher office than that of a bishop, descend to be a mere bishop; why one, with a world-wide commission—for the Jews were well scattered—should tie himself up to a single city for a quarter of a century?

We would like to make one or two further remarks about the statement we have quoted above from The Catholic Faith.

Let it be carefully noted, the power of binding and loosing on earth was not confined to Peter ALONE. We learn from Luke 24:33 that on the first resurrection morning, when our Lord entered the room, the doors being shut for fear of the Jews, he found “the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,” showing clearly there were more than the Apostles present. Of that company we read:

  “He breathed on them, and says unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained” (John 10:22-23).

Further we have our Lord’s own words addressed not to Peter, nor to the eleven, but to the WHOLE Church in its local responsibility:

  “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 18:18).

No wonder Rome is afraid of its adherents reading the Scriptures, seeing how far removed from its teaching are the dogmas of the papacy.


If there were any historical evidence that Peter ever was in Rome, as we have clear evidence that Paul was in Rome, and martyred there, it certainly would have been forthcoming. The following from the pen of a Roman Catholic author is feeble in the extreme. We read:

  “As it cannot be supposed that St. Peter had no See during the last twenty-five years of his life: if St. Peter was not Bishop of Rome during that period, they ought to tell us of what other place he was Bishop, and where he died, and how and when his mortal remains have been transferred to Rome. But of these things they tell us nothing” (Catholic Belief, p. 305).

What a strange inference (if it deserves such a name), that Peter must have been a Bishop somewhere, and as this somewhere is not stated, then he must have been Bishop of Rome. This reasoning is in a circle and lands the writer nowhere. A more weak, vapid, feeble attempt to establish an assertion on nothing we have never seen.

We have however enough Bible testimony to prove that it is extremely unlikely that Peter was ever in Rome.

We read:

  “The Romanists affirm that Peter was Bishop of Rome during the twenty-five years that preceded his martyrdom. His residence in the capital began, according to them, in A.D. 43. He was martyred in A.D. 68. But on Paul’s first visit to Jerusalem in A.D. 51, he found Peter there, when, according to the Romanist theory, he should have been in Rome. It appears also, from the first and second chapters of Galatians, that from Paul’s conversion till his second visit to Jerusalem, that is seventeen years, Peter had been ministering to the Jews, and as shown in the text, he was not at Rome at the time of Paul’s imprisonment and martyrdom” (The Papacy. Dr. Wylie, p. 233).

The Apostle Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans about the year A.D. 60. According to the Romanists, Peter was then Bishop of Rome. Is it not passing strange that in that epistle to the saints at Rome, while Paul sends his salutations to no less than twenty-six of the saints by name in addition to the Church that met in the house of Priscilla and Aquila, the members of the household of Aristobulus, and of Narcissus, besides other companies noted in Romans 16:14-15, yet he sends no greeting to Peter, who must have been the most prominent of all the saints at Rome, if he were then Bishop of Rome?

The late Sir Robert Anderson with the keen mind of a trained lawyer, well qualified to weigh up evidence, wrote:

  “What ground is there for believing that the Apostle Peter was ever the Bishop of Rome? The only ground is that the Roman Church asserts it. EVIDENCE there is absolutely none” (The Bible or the Church? p. 33).

Bearing on the subject in hand, the following extract from the author of Catholic Belief will show how far credulity can go:

  “On the day that Simon Magus was to delight the Romans by an ascent in the air, and they were in most anxious expectation to see such a prodigy, St. Peter and St. Paul went to the spot where this was to take place, full of confidence in God that He would confound the impostor and undeceive the people. And so it was: as Simon Magus, before an immense crowd of people, was carried by the wicked spirits on high in what appeared to be a carriage drawn by fiery horses, St. Peter made a fervent prayer to God that He would abase that man, and behold, in an instant, the fiery horses and chariot vanished away and Simon Magus fell headlong to the ground and died.

  “This defeat of Simon Magus, by St. Peter, was the cause of a great many conversions. But Nero, exasperated at seeing himself and the Romans set at nought ordered St. Peter and St. Paul to be cast into the Mamertine Prison; on the Capitol. There they were kept in strict confinement for nine mouths. From that prison St Paul wrote his second letter to St. Timothy, requesting him to come to Rome, to be witness of his martyrdom, which was at hand” (Catholic Belief, p. 351).

Would it be likely that Paul would have written to Timothy; and not have mentioned that Peter was a fellow prisoner? How could he have written, “Only Luke is with me?” (2 Tim. 4:11), if Peter had been in Rome at that time? Paul did express a wish that Timothy should show diligence to come to him, but not a single syllable is there that he wished him to witness his martyrdom. This is a sample of making history where there is none. It bears its own refutation on the face of it.

There is an attempt made to prove that Peter was Bishop of Rome by quoting the Scripture:

  “The church that is at Babylon elected together with you, salutes you; and so doth Marcus my son” (1 Peter 5:13).

They assert that Babylon was a cryptic allusion to Rome, indeed, in the Douay Bible they go as far as to put a note against this verse, “Figurative Rome.” But this is a very unfortunate claim, for Babylon, as standing symbolically for Rome, is described in the following strong denunciatory language, as we shall see later:

  “Upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS, AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Rev. 17:5).

As a matter of historical fact, there was a Roman colony in Egypt, named Babylon, not far from Cairo, where today impressive remains can be seen, proving that in the early centuries there had been a large and prosperous Christian community, and it is believed by some that this is the place the Apostle wrote from.


The author of Catholic Belief writes:

  “In Baptism all infants, without any disposition on their part being required, are cleansed from the stain of original sin, taken into God’s favour, made members of Christ’s mystical body, and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven. They are thus regenerated; that is, in our Saviour’s own words, ‘born again of water and the Holy Ghost.’ (St. John 3:5). As they have contracted the stain of original sin without their knowledge and personal co-operation so they are freed from sin without their knowledge … But though Baptism suffices to save a child in the state of infancy, yet as soon as it comes to the age of reason, the Baptism which it received will not by itself suffice for its salvation; the child must, besides believe and profess the principal Articles of Faith, must hope in God, and must love Him with his whole heart” (pp. 58-59).

There is no mistaking what Romanists teach as to Baptism. They found this dogma on a misconception of the Scripture just quoted in the extract given. That the ‘water’ in John 3:5 cannot be the literal water of baptism is proved under two heads. Firstly, there was no such thing as Christian baptism when our Lord uttered these words. There was John’s baptism unto repentance, but Christian baptism is “unto the death of Christ,” and in view of His resurrection, and that could not be till our Lord died and rose again. (See Romans 6:1-5 in proof of this statement). Secondly, Scripture itself explains what is meant by the word “water.” We read:

  “Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water BY THE WORD” (Eph 5:25-26).

It is very good to have the explanation given by Scripture itself. This is confirmed by the following Scriptures. The Apostle John writes of being “born of water and of the Spirit.” (John 3:5). The Apostle Peter writes, too, of the new birth, but using the simile of “seed” and not of “water.” We read:

  “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by THE WORD OF GOD, which lives and abides for ever” (1 Peter 1:23).

The Apostle James, also, writes of the new birth:

  “Of His own will begat He us with THE WORD OF TRUTH, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures” (James 1:18).

Now if “water” is literal water in one passage, “seed” should be literal seed also. But of this the Romanists make no claim. Why? But when all three Scriptures speak of the new birth, and two out of the three attribute new birth to the power of the Holy Spirit by the agency of the word of God, we are assured that “water” stands for the word of God, especially when we have the support of Ephesians 5:26, which puts “the washing of water” and the “word” together, saying “washing of water BY THE WORD.”

How sad is this extract from the Catholic author. He takes away with one hand what he professes to give with the other. The baptised infant is made, according to them, a child of God, but when it grows up he is not a child of God unless professing the principal Articles of Faith, such as transubstantiation, the mass, purgatory, confessional, supremacy of the Pope, etc., etc. The extract just given is sad enough reading, for it does not say a word about believing on Christ. The Apostle Paul did not say to the Philippian jailor that he should believe the principal Articles of Faith, but:

  “Believe on the LORD JESUS CHRIST AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED” (Acts 16:31).

The Apostle Peter, whose word should, above all others be believed by Roman Catholics, wrote:

  “Redeemed … with the precious blood of CHRIST, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19).

A great many rites are added to this simple act of baptism, making the whole affair ridiculous, such as muttering prayers over the child to exorcise the devil, putting salt in its mouth, making the sign of the cross on forehead, eye, breast, shoulder and ear, the anointing of the child with the oil of catechumens on the breast that it may receive the Holy Spirit, the anointing of the head, signifying that the child is engrafted into Christ, etc., etc. Where do they get Scripture for all this superstitious mummery? Not a line of Scripture is there for these observances.

The writer once saw a baptism carried out in a little country church in a continental village. The priest actually opened and spat into the infant’s mouth to bestow the Holy Ghost upon it, as he claimed.

The author of Catholic Belief writes:

  “Confirmation is a sacrament instituted by our Lord, by which the faithful, who have already been made children of God by Baptism, receive the Holy Ghost by the prayer, unction (or anointing with holy oil, called Chrism), and the laying on of the hands of a Bishop, the successor of the Apostles. It is thus they are enriched with gifts, graces and virtues, especially with the virtue of fortitude, and made perfect Christians and valiant soldiers of Jesus Christ, to stand through life in the warfare against the world, the flesh and the devil” (p. 98).

Confirmation, as claimed by the Church of Rome, is a rite, which has no counterpart in the Scriptures. There is not a line in the whole Word of God to support the idea of the one to be confirmed receiving the Holy Spirit with the chrism, nor of the Bishop slapping the one to be confirmed on the cheek, signifying that as a soldier of the cross he must be prepared to endure hardness, nor of the Bishop kissing him, signifying the impartation of “the peace that passes all understanding.”

And what has been the result in the lives of these baptised and confirmed adherents of the Romish Church? We have often seen them emerging from their chapels in Ireland and other places, and have been struck with the oppressed look on their faces, as if their religion was not a happy one. We have marked the furtive look that characterised them, the poverty that marked them; and inside their chapels the tawdry images, the tinsel, the confessional boxes were far removed from the Spirit of our Lord. In many an Irish small town you can find poverty alongside priests’ handsome houses, and dominating chapels in the midst of dirt and squalor. The worshippers in the chapels fill the public houses, and exhibit no trace of being valiant soldiers of Jesus Christ, fighting the world, the flesh and the devil. Such is Rome. An empty shell without a kernel. It reminds us of our Lord’s scathing charge against the Pharisees:

  “Ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones and of all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:27).


The author of Catholic Belief states:

  “Catholics believe that in the Holy Eucharist* Transubstantiation, or a change of substance, and not consubstantiation, or co-existence of two substances, takes place, for the simple reason that our Saviour at the Last Supper did not say: ‘IN this’ or ‘WITH this is my Body,’ ‘IN this’ or ‘WITH this is my Blood’; but ‘THIS is my Body,’ ‘THIS is my Blood,’ which words in their natural meaning imply a change of substance” (p. 71).
{* For the sake of our readers to whom Roman Catholic ideas may be unfamiliar, we append this note, giving brief explanations of a few of the terms most frequently used.
  CONSISTORY, an ecclesiastical court in the Roman Catholic Church, consisting of the Pope in the papal chair with his cardinals and bishops.
  CONSUBSTANTIATION, the Lutheran doctrine, half-way to transubstantiation, rejected by the Swiss reformer, Zwingle, that the actual body and blood of the Lord co-exist with the bread and the wine at the Lord’s Supper.
  DULIA, worship given to saints and angels, secondary to Latria.
  EUCHARIST, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper (Greek, eucharistia, thanksgiving).
  EXTREME UNCTION, consists in the anointing with holy oil the eyes, ears, nostrils, lips, hands and feet, of those in danger of death by sickness, accompanied by special prayers.
  HOST, the bread of the Lord’s Supper, after the priest has consecrated it, falsely claiming it to be the very body and blood of the Lord, constituting it, as Romans claim, a “bloodless sacrifice” (Greek, hostia, sacrifice).
  HYPERDULIA, worship rendered to the Virgin Mary, inferior to Latria and superior to Dulia.
  LATRIA, supreme worship, offered to God alone. In practice it is difficult as to how far the worshippers understand these grades—Latria, Hyperdulia and Dulia.
  MASS, the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, in which the species (bread and wine) are falsely claimed to be the very body and blood of our Lord.
  MORTAL SIN, “is a grievous sin against God by which we lose His friendship and His grace, which loss is the death of the soul.” Those who die in mortal sin, according to Romanists, go to Hell for all eternity.
  ORDINARY, a bishop or his deputy, down to the parish priest.
  PYX, the receptacle used for the reception of the Host.
  SACRAMENT, an ordinance authorised by Scripture. There are two scripturally authorised ordinances—Baptism and the Lord’s Supper—to which Romanists have added Confirmation, Penance, Holy Orders, Matrimony, Extreme Unction.
  SATISFACTION, performing the penance enjoined by the priest in confession.
  SPECIES denotes that though the bread and wine become, according to Romanists, the very body and blood of our Lord, yet to the eye they are unchanged, and look, smell and taste exactly like bread and wine, the supposed miracle leaving them unchanged in appearance, as they are surely in reality.
  TABERNACLE, the receptacle in which the consecrated emblems of the Lord’s Supper are kept, a light always burning before it, its contents, an idolatrous object of worship, the Romanists believing that it contains the very body and blood of the Lord, CHRIST HIMSELF, is reality “a wafer-god.”
  VENIAL SIN, “a slight infringement of the law,” according to a Catholic Author.
  VIATICUM, the Lord’s Supper, specially administered to those is danger of death by sickness.}

Here we put our finger on the high-water mark of superstitious idolatry, the like of which is not surpassed by pagan rites. Well might Cardinal Manning say:

  “The Catholic Church is either the masterpiece of Satan or the kingdom of the Son of God” (Lectures on the Four-fold Sovereignty of God. London, 1871 , p. 171).

Cardinal Newman expressed a similar idea:

  “Either the Church of Rome is the house of God or the house of Satan; there is no middle ground between them” (Essays, 11, p. 116).

With these sentiments we fully agree, though we have come to the exactly opposite conclusion to what these princes of the Church, alas! arrived at. If Transubstantiation is true, it is a most terribly solemn tiring to be outside the pale of the true Church. If it is false, this dogma makes the Church of Rome the very seat of Satan, and should be avoided at the peril of our souls.

Nor was Transubstantiation known in the apostolic era, when of all times they should have known it. Not till the 8th/9th centuries was Transubstantiation taught in Romish circles. The simple blessed remembrance of our Lord with bread and wine, the said bread and wine remaining unchanged, was celebrated by the Church in the apostolic era. Gradually, alas! this simplicity was corrupted more and more till full-blown Transubstantiation arrived.

The Apostle Paul knew nothing of this Romish dogma. We read:

  “The Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: This is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:23-4).

Did Paul believe that the bread and wine were changed into the body and blood of the Lord, though he did reproduce in his epistle our Lord’s own words, “This is My body”?

It is plain he did not, for in verses 26 and 27 he refers to the Corinthian believers partaking of the Lord’s supper, after “the consecration of the elements,” as the Romanists would say. Twice over he says “Ye eat this bread and drink this cup,” and not “Ye eat His body and drink His blood,” as the Romanists would have us to say. It is very plain the Apostle Paul did not believe in Transubstantiation, and we prefer to believe what he taught rather than the superstition of Rome.

  “THIS bread,” and “THIS cup” clearly means that the elements were unchanged, and that our Lord used the words, “THIS is My body; THIS is My blood” symbolically. Take the words of our Lord literally,

  “I AM the true Vine” (John 15:2).

and you would reduce His language to an absurdity;
take the words symbolically, and they are full of beautiful meaning.
We could multiply case after case where to take words literally would be confusion,
but taken symbolically they are full of wisdom and beauty.

This stands in full harmony with what our Lord said at the Supper Table. We read:

  “Jesus took bread and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; THIS is My body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye, all of it; for THIS is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:26-28).

But what follows? In the very next verse, AFTER our Lord had given thanks for the bread and wine, we read our Saviour’s own words:

  “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of THIS fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” (v. 29).

It is perfectly plain that our Lord, who had blessed and given thanks for the cup, recognised that its contents were unchanged, that it was the fruit of the vine when He blessed it, and that it remained the fruit of the vine after He had blessed it. The wine was unchanged.

The Author of Catholic Belief makes a very strange remark. Writing of the Lord’s Supper and the first miracle of Transubstantiation, as they falsely claim it to be, he writes:

  “If what Jesus held in His hands was truly His Body and His Blood, it must have ceased to be the substance of bread and of wine” (p. 71).

We write most reluctantly and with utmost reverence. When our Lord said, “THIS is My body,” “THIS is My blood,” He was alive with the living flesh of a living man clothing His sacred body, and the blood of a living man coursing through His veins. Yet this Author teaches that our living Lord on the Passover night, held His dead flesh and shed blood in His hands. We can only characterise this as pure blasphemy without a tittle of Scripture to give the slightest semblance to it, manifesting the utmost confusion of thought.

The Romanists point to the following Scripture in support of this terrible blasphemy:

  “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you” (John 6:53).

We have two things to say as to this verse. (1) Our Lord was alive when He said it, so the eating and drinking could not be literal. (2) When He spoke these words the Lord’s Supper was not yet instituted, and therefore at that moment it could not refer to it. The words were symbolic of what? Eating and drinking are the two most thorough ways of appropriating. For instance we might find a wallet on the street, and of course would pick it up. We appropriate it. But not for long. Someone runs after us and asks with anxiety, Have you picked up a wallet in the street? The wallet is returned to the owner. But who can take from us the food and drink we partook of yesterday? Not all the Acts of Parliament, not all the emetics ministered by doctors or chemists, not all the clever operations of the skilled surgeons, could take from us this food. It has been appropriated, gone into the system to build it up in all its parts. It has become part of us. So with this mystic eating and drinking. The Lord was alive upon the earth. His death had not taken place, but He told His disciples of His coming death, and that death being for their life and blessing. He showed how appropriating this death in all its personal meaning and power was the only way of life for them.

Jeremiah of old wrote:

  “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart” (Jer. 15:16).

Even the Romanists, one would think, could scarcely take these words literally, but as symbolically indicating the appropriation of the very words of Jehovah, so that they become spiritual food and blessing to the soul. Thus it is with eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of Man.

Nor does this exhaust the tale of Rome’s ignorant and terrible sacrilege. Not only does Rome claim that the bread and the wine become the very body and blood our Lord; that is, it becomes a “whole Christ,” but that it is a propitiatory offering to God. The Council of Trent (Session 22) states:

  “Forasmuch as in this Divine Sacrifice, which is celebrated in the mass, that same Christ is contained, and immolated in an unbloody manner, who once offered Himself in a bloody manner, on the altar of the cross, the holy synod [note well, the holy synod, not Scripture] teaches that this sacrifice is truly propitiatory, and that by means thereof, this is effected—that we obtain mercy and find grace in seasonable aid, if we draw near unto God, contrite and penitent, with a sincere heart and upright faith, with fear and reverence.”

This is in complete opposition to Scripture. It denies that the Lord Jesus completed the work of atonement on the cross once and for all. We read:

  “Who needs not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s; for this He did ONCE, when He offered up Himself” (Heb. 7:27).
  “But this Man, after He had offered ONE sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:52).
  “For by ONE OFFERING He has perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14).
  “In that He died, He died unto sin ONCE: but in that He lives, He lives unto God” (Rom. 6:10).

Will the Romanists refuse to listen to Peter? Will they believe their corrupt and blasphemous tradition rather than the pure word of God?

The Apostle Peter writes as clearly and decisively as the Scriptures just quoted.

  “Christ also has ONCE SUFFERED FOR SINS, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

Finally our Lord uttered these words on the cross in a loud voice,

  “IT IS FINISHED” (John 19:30).

God Himself in high heaven answered that cry by rending the veil of the Temple in twain from the top to the bottom, the very earth quaked and the rocks were rent, and the graves opened and the bodies of the saints that slept arose—all testifying that Divine righteousness was once and for all infinitely and divinely satisfied by our Lord’s grand propitiatory sacrifice on the cross, never to be repeated, but to stand in all its complete efficacy for ever. What sacrilege for Romish priests to dare to say, when they pronounce the words at the celebration of the mass, Hoc est enim corpus meum (“This is My body”), that they are offering, a propitiatory sacrifice, and anathematise and curse all who do not acknowledge this. Furthermore they are not consistent. With one breath they tell us that the wine at the Lord’s Supper is turned into the blood of our Lord, and yet on the other hand tell us it is “a bloodless sacrifice.” We can only say the holy synod is crassly ignorant of Holy Scripture, which says emphatically:


Where then is their bloodless propitiatory sacrifice?

Finally the very peak of superstitious mummery is reached when the priest holds up the Host, a piece of dough baked into a wafer, oftentimes made by the priest’s little servant maid in the kitchen of the presbytery, on which are engraved a cross and the following letters:

We read:

  “The Host, then, is to be worshipped: and how? Not as images are worshipped; not as saints are worshipped; but as the eternal Creator Himself is worshipped. The Church of Rome does not teach that God is worshipped through the host: she teaches that the host is God—is the flesh, the blood, the soul and divinity of Christ—therefore the worship is given to the host, and terminates on the host” (The Papacy, Dr. Wylie, p. 319).

Can anything exceed this in gross and blasphemous superstition? Doubtless many of the priests do not inwardly believe what they outwardly profess; and many totally unchristian priests, often leading immoral and drunken lives, as can be proved up to the hilt by many testimonies, are devoid of any pretence of believing in this mummery.


The Council of Trent (Session 21; Canon I, 20) states:

  “If anyone says that the Holy Catholic Church was not induced by just cause and reasons to communicate under the species of bread only, laymen and also clerics, when not consecrating, let him be anathema.”

In withholding the cup, said by Romanists to contain the very blood of the Lord, they withhold what is according to them, essential for salvation.

Dr. Wylie testifies to what he has seen repeatedly:

  “The practice has now come to be extremely common in the Church of Rome for the priest ALONE to partake sacramentally; so that, in point of fact, the people are debarred from BOTH kinds. The writer has seen mass celebrated in most of the great cathedrals out of Italy, but in no instance did he ever see the worshippers permitted to partake” (The Papacy, pp. 323-324).

Does it not show that the Romanists do not believe in their own dogmas, for if the words they quote in support of the mass, that without eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of Man, there is no Divine life whatsoever, are correctly used by them, then to withhold the bread and wine at the Lord’s Supper, turned, as they falsely claim, into the body and blood of the Lord, would mean that they heartlessly place their adherents clean outside the pale of salvation altogether.

We can thank God that Rome’s anathema is thunder without lightning. It can affright but it cannot kill. Bunyan, in his wonderful Pilgrim’s Progress, aptly described the situation. Giant Pope could make horrible grimaces, but had no further power.


It is the Roman custom to say masses for the dead and to charge a fee, regulated by the position and ability of the relatives to pay. We quote a testimony to the wickedness of this unholy traffic:

  “The Church Consistory Courts, which were set up in every town in Christendom were simply shops. These courts took account of all offences, real and imaginary, offences against the moral law, the law of the realm and canon law. But no matter what the offences were, whether murder or robbery, or eating meat on Fridays, and talking disrespectfully of the counterfeit bones of a saint, all were alike expiable by the payment of a fine. Indeed, as everyone knows, many of the ordinances of the Church, and decretals of the Popes, were promulgated for pecuniary gain. Then, as that Church had spies in every household, and canon law was a gin and a snare and a pitfall for every honest man, a stream of accused persons was constantly pouring into the courts, and a stream of gold constantly pouring into the exchequer of the Church” (The Roman Catholic Church in Italy. Alexander Robertson, D.D., pp. 113-114).

Whether it be indulgences, purgatory, dispensations, etc., the cry is for money, money, money, and this from the professed followers of the Apostle Peter, who said:

  “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6).


Why should there be an urge to cause people to pay for masses to be said for their dead relatives? The answer lies in the Romish invention of purgatory.

And on what Scriptures does Rome found this claim? Here is one:

  “Whosoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaks against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matt. 12:32).

They argue that if sins cannot be forgiven in Hell—and there are no sins to be forgiven in Heaven—there must be a third place where people can be purified from their sins, and that must be purgatory. But suppose an American subject were tried for some serious offence in Britain, and the judge addressed him, saying that the crime was so serious that it could not be forgiven in Britain, nor yet in America. It would be nonsensical to argue from the judge’s remark that there must be a third place where it might be forgiven. But not more nonsensical than this argument about purgatory.

Another passage the Romanists use for this purpose:

  “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire: and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Cor. 3:11-15).

How can this Scripture teach the meaning of a third place in addition to Heaven and Hell? Purgatory, according to Romanists, is a place of literal fire, of exquisite tortures, where screams and shrieks fill the air, fit to rend the hearts of living relatives, inducing them to find money to help a greedy priesthood to procure imaginary relief from an imaginary purgatory.

It is plain that one Scripture cannot contradict another, and here we have a Scripture in the Saviour’s own words, prefaced by His strong asseveration of a double “Verily,” that believers will never, never come into judgment.

  “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears My word, and believes on Him that sent Me, has everlasting life, and shall NOT come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

And yet the Romanists have the audacity to affirm that saints will come into judgment, and with these saints they include the very popes of Rome. Whose word shall stand, the Romanists’ or the Lord’s verily, verily?

Again we read:

  “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL” (Heb. 10:10).

Does this look like purgatory? Does this not mean what it says, that believers are sanctified once and for all and for ever through the atoning sacrifice of Christ.


  “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from ALL sin” (1 John 1:7).

If subject to Scripture, how can we believe that any one, whose sins have been cleansed away by the precious blood of Christ, will need to be purified from them by the flames of purgatory?

The idea of purgatory, penance, prayers for the dead, date no earlier than the 7th century, and were not positively affirmed till 1140.

And yet a Roman Catholic writer says:

  “Origen in the 3rd century, St. Ambrose and St. Jerome in the 4th, and St. Augustine in the 5th, have interpreted this text of St. Paul as relating to venial sins committed by Christians, which St. Paul compares to ‘wood, hay, stubble,’ and thus with this text they confirm the Catholic belief in Purgatory, well known and believed in their time, as it is by Catholics in the present time” (Catholic Belief, pp. 186-187).

Is it honest to say these Fathers well knew the dogma of purgatory centuries before it was first promulgated? However, we thank these fathers for saying that “wood, hay, stubble,” do not stand for actual wood, hay, stubble, but are to be understood symbolically. Why are they not consistent in affirming that the “fire” is likewise symbolic, setting forth God’s discriminating judgment in condemning all that is not of His Holy Spirit in the lives of believers? We have seen crude and repulsive pictures, depicting souls in the flames of purgatory in Romish churches.

Note in the text, it is every man’s work shall be made manifest, his work tried, but there is no hint that his person comes into judgment, for that would contradict John 5:24 and Hebrews 10:10. Our Lord said emphatically that the believer will never come into judgment. And he never will, of that there is no shadow of doubt.

But all the works of believers will be assessed as good or bad. If good, the product of the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers, they will meet with a reward. If bad, the product of the working of the flesh, they will meet with loss. The believer will be saved, yet so as by fire, the “fire,” symbolic language, meaning that just as literal fire burns literal wood, hay, stubble, so the judgment seat of Christ will set aside once and for ever everything that is reprehensible in the life of the believer. But this passage gives no hint of a third place in addition to Heaven and Hell.

The writer remembers an aged German putting into his hand a box of bank notes. If they could have been negotiated at their face value he would have been a multimillionaire over and over again, and his wealth would have reached astronomical figures, but they were perfectly worthless. The inflation after the Great War (1914-1918) had completely destroyed their value. He suffered loss. So shall believers suffer loss if they give license to the flesh in any shape or form.

Perhaps the most shameful record of the money-making traffic in indulgences is that of Father Tetzel, of Germany, who toured that country carrying with him a large iron box in which to contain the money entrusted to him for the release of souls from purgatory.

That great man, Martin Luther, opposed him to good purpose, exposing the scandal of his proceedings.

  “‘Indulgences,’ said Tetzel, ‘are the most precious and the most noble of God’s gifts. This cross [pointing to the red cross, which he set up wherever he came] has as much efficacy as the very cross of Jesus Christ. Come and I will give you letters, all properly sealed, by which even the sins you intend to commit may be pardoned.’
    “‘I would not exchange my privileges for those of St. Peter in Heaven, for I have saved more souls by my indulgences than the apostle by his sermons.’
    “‘There is no sin so great that an indulgence cannot remit, and even if anyone had offered violence to the blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, let him pay—only let him pay well—and all will be forgiven him.’
    “‘But more than this,’ said he, ‘indulgences avail not only for the living, but for the dead. For that repentance is not even necessary.’
    “‘Priest! noble! merchant! wife! youth! maiden! do you not hear your parents and your other friends, who are dead, and who cry from the bottom of the abyss. We are suffering horrible torments; a trifling alms would deliver us; you can give it, and you will not?
    “‘At the very instant,’ continued Tetzel ‘that the money rattles at the bottom of the chest, the soul escapes from Purgatory, and flies liberated to heaven’”
(D’Aubigne’s History of the Reformation, Vol. i, pp 241-242).

These notorious sales of indulgences were blessed by the Pope. No wonder the Reformation took place!

Indulgences are connected with medals, scapularies, rosaries and crucifixes. Pope Adrian IV granted a bull of indulgence to certain beads, which he blessed. This bull was afterwards confirmed by Popes Gregory XIII, Clement VIII, Urban VIII in the following terms:

  “Whosoever has one of these beads, and says one Pater Noster and one Ave Maria, shall on any day release three souls out of Purgatory: and reciting them twice on Sunday, or holiday, shall release six souls. Also reciting five Pater Nosters and five Ave Madas upon a Friday, to the honour of the five wounds of Christ, shall gain a pardon of seventy thousand years, and the remission of all his sins” (Geddes’ Tracts., vol. 4, p. 90).

The spectacle of eminent Popes blessing beads is a puerile sight indeed.


A usual sight in a Roman Catholic Church is the confessional box. It is so constructed that the priest has full view of the penitent, whilst the penitent cannot see the priest, who hears the confession. On the box is clearly marked the name of “Father” So-and-so, and yet Scripture clearly says:

  “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in Heaven” (Matt. 23:9).

This clearly cannot refer to our father in the flesh, for Scripture is very insistent that all respect should be paid to one’s earthly father and mother. It most clearly refers to calling anyone on earth “father” in a spiritual sense, standing in contrast to the Father in Heaven. To call anyone “father” in a religious sense is an insult to the great Father in Heaven. But the Roman priesthood sets aside this prohibition. That theirs is a religious fatherhood is clearly manifest, for they are celibate. By the laws of their Church they are not allowed to marry.

In support of the practice of confession, a Roman Catholic author cites two Scriptures:

  “That it is a good thing to confess our sins appears from the following passages of Holy Writ: ‘He that hides his sins shall not prosper; but he that shall confess, and forsake them shall obtain mercy’ (Prov. 28:13). St. James writes ‘Confess, therefore, your sins one to another’ (5:16). If ‘open confession is good for the soul,’ how particularly advantageous is it to confess to a priest to whom God has deputed power to forgive our sins. We must bear the shame of showing our wounds and bruises and festering sores if we wished to be cured” (Catholic Belief, pp 68-69).

The first passage surely means that we should confess our sins to God. For this we need no earthly mediator, no human priest. As to the latter passage, it clearly means that if we sin against any person our duty is to confess our wrong-doing to the person we have wronged and seek his forgiveness. Out of these simple verses Rome has built up a great system, a money-making affair, which fastens upon its dupes a priestly domination, totally foreign to Scripture.

To back up this pretension, the translator or translators of the Douay Bible have altered the word “repentance” to “penance” in a good many instances. This tampering with the very letter of Scripture is made worse by the addition of man-made notes, seeking to support what has been so daringly done. The word “repentance,” as given in the Bible, is represented by the Greek word, metanoeō, meaning to have “another mind.” It does not mean to change one’s mind as to some particular point, but the whole change of a man’s mind brought about by the sense of sinfulness, and therefore of being out of touch with God, and altering his whole attitude in this respect.

  “Penance” is a word that does not occur in the Bible. The Romanists have introduced it to cover external acts, being the penance or penalty apportioned by the priest in satisfaction of the offence.

To show the difference between this and the wholesome repentance Scripture inculcates, we give here a sample of the foolish and degrading penance a priest may impose on a penitent:

  “I had to go on my knees every day, during nine days before the fourteen images of the way of the cross and say a penitential psalm before every picture, which I did. By the sixth day the skin of my knees were pierced and the blood was flowing freely. I suffered real torture every time I kneeled down and at every step I made. But it seemed to me that these terrible tortures were nothing compared to my great iniquity. I had refused for a moment to believe that a man could create his God with a wafer, and I had thought that a Church which adores a God eaten by rats* must be an idolatrous Church” (Fifty years in the Church of Rome. Father Chiniquy, p. 256).
{*Father Chiniquy describes how the wafer-god was on one occasion eaten by hungry rats, taking advantage of a blind priest. This caused the blind priest, in terrible grief, to exclaim, “The good God has disappeared from the altar. He is lost. J’ai perdu le bon Dieu.”}

Can anyone imagine the Apostles Paul, Peter and John setting any penitent to such a senseless and degrading task?

Father Chiniquy likewise gives his testimony as to the evil of auricular confession:

  “There are two women who ought to be the objects of the compassion of the disciples of Christ, and for whom daily prayers ought to be offered at the mercy-seat—the Brahman woman, who, deceived by her priests, burns herself on the corpse of her husband to appease the wrath of her wooden gods, and the Roman Catholic woman, who, not less deceived by her priests, suffers a torture far more real and ignominious in the confessional-box, to appease the wrath of her wafer-god.

  “For I do not exaggerate when I say that for many noble-hearted women, well-educated, high-minded women to be forced to unveil their hearts before the eyes of a man, to open to him all the most secret recesses of their souls, all the most sacred mysteries of their single or married life, to allow him to put questions which the most depraved woman would never consent to hear from her vilest seducer, is often more horrible and intolerable than to be tied to burning coals. More than once I have seen women fainting in the confessional-box. Not hundreds, but thousands of times. I have heard from the lips of dying girls, as well as married women, the awful words, ‘I am for ever lost! All my past confessions and communions have been so many sacrileges! I have never dared to answer correctly the questions of my confessors! Shame has sealed my lips and damned my soul” (Fifty years in the Church of Rome, p. 402).

Again we read:

  “Father Chiniquy who was for over a quarter of a century a confessor says: ‘I have heard the confessions of more than two hundred priests, and to say the truth, as God knows it, I must declare that only twenty-one had not to weep over the secret or public sins committed through the irresistibly corrupting influences of auricular confession. I am now seventy-six years old, and in a short time I shall be in my grave. I shall have to give account of what I say now. Well, it is in the presence of the great Judge, with my tomb before my eyes that I declare to the world that very few—yes, very few—priests escape from falling into the pit of the most horrible depravity the world has ever known through the confession of females’” (The Roman Catholic Church in Italy, pp. 160-161).

Suffice it to say that such testimony to the evils of auricular confessions could easily be multiplied. It is well known that Roman Catholic priests are instructed to ask a number of searching questions on sex matters that introduce to the young and innocent thoughts that pollute their minds, and often acquaint them with the knowledge of sins they had no conception of, till the time of their first confession, doing them irreparable harm for life.

Well does Dr. Wylie say:

  “History testifies, that for every offender whom the confessional has reclaimed, it has hardened thousands; for one it may have saved, it has destroyed millions” (The Papacy, p. 329).


The Scriptures sternly forbid idolatry, and because of idolatry Israel was punished again and again, and allowed to go under the yoke of the oppressor. We read:

  “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them” (Ex. 20:4-5).

At the very time that this Commandment was being given to Moses on Mount Sinai the children of Israel were worshipping the golden calf which Aaron had made. The dire judgment of God followed this idolatry. Moses burnt the golden calf, ground it to powder, strawed it upon water and made the people drink it. Three thousand souls perished that day.

We read of the godly king Hezekiah and how he acted:

  “He removed the high places and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan [a piece of brass]” (2 Kings 18:4).

There is no trace of image worship being favoured in the New Testament, but we have stern warnings against it. The Apostle Paul wrote:

  “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry” (1 Cor. 10:14).

The Apostle John closes his first epistle with solemn words:

  “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21).

Yet the cathedrals and churches of Rome are filled with images, and their adherents are encouraged to pay them homage, pray to them, and give them votive offerings. Idolatry is encouraged and practised, and Rome will have to answer for this to an offended God.

The rosary consists of a string of beads, a mere mechanical device for saying prayers. It is of heathen origin. In Asiatic Greece the rosary was commonly used, as was seen with the image of the Ephesian Diana.

The Rev. Mr. Hyslop writes:

  “It supposes that a certain number of prayers must be regularly gone over; it overlooks the grand demand God makes for the heart, and leads those who use them to believe that form and routine are everything” (The Two Babylons, p. 188).

Well did our Lord give warning:

  “When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (Matt. 6:7).

As to relics, the following list garnered from The Hammersmith Protestant Discussion, p. 599, will carry its own condemnation. The list exhibits superstition, credulity to a boundless extent, a childishness that could only be found in backward races:

  “The hair of St. Mary Magdalene; Some of the fat from St. Lawrence when he was roasted alive; Stones thrown at St. Stephen; Hay from the manger of Bethlehem; The head of the woman of Samaria; Judas’ lantern; The tail of Balaam’s ass; Blossoms of Aaron’s rod; One of the Virgin’s combs; Butter and cheese made of the Virgin’s milk; A large bone of St. Peter; A tooth of St. Paul; Parings of St. Edmund’s toes.”

It is said that there are enough pieces of wood, claimed to be once part of the cross of our Lord, to build a fair-sized vessel, and that there are more heads of St. Peter than one or two.

Would that some might get their eyes open as they read such things, so opposite to the Scriptures, and even to common sense.


It is a dogma of the Church of Rome that the Virgin Mary was miraculously born without a taint of sin, that original sin, the sinful nature common to all of Adam’s race, was entirely wanting in her by an act of Divine grace, that her humanity was as pure and sinless as that of her Divine Son.

Since the 12th century Rome has leant to this idea, but not till the 19th century was it officially promulgated. On 8th December, 1853, Pope Pius IX promulgated a bull, declaring this dogma to be an article of faith, and charging with heresy those who should doubt or speak against it. If it were true when the Virgin was born, why did it take over eighteen hundred years to find it out?

But one verse of Scripture settles the point, and that the inspired record of what the Virgin Mary herself said in the joy of her heart, when the news of the high honour of becoming the mother of our Lord according to the flesh was brought to her. She exclaimed in great exultation:

  “My spirit has rejoiced in God MY SAVIOUR” (Luke 1:47).

Now if the Virgin, “blessed among women,” had a Saviour, she must have needed a Saviour. And if she needed a Saviour, she must have been a sinner, like every member of the fallen human race.

To be consistent, if Romanists believe the Virgin was sinless, then death could not have been her portion, for “the wages of sin is death.” So they claim that she miraculously ascended to Heaven without dying on the 15th August, A.D. 45. There is not a single line of Scripture for the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, nor for her translation to Heaven without dying.

All the Pauline epistles were written well after A.D. 45, but there is no mention of these notions. The Gospel of John was written long after the Pauline epistles, moreover it was to the Apostle John our Lord tenderly committed His mother according to the flesh, and yet he never said a word about the immaculate conception, or the miraculous flight to Heaven without dying.

The whole thing is a pure invention with the object of leading Roman Catholics to the idolatrous worship of the mother of our Lord according to the flesh. We shall see to what lengths Rome can go in this direction.


Romanists tell us this is hyperdulia, that is, worship of a very high order, but short of Latria, worship to God alone, but higher than Dulia, a lower sort of worship accorded to saints and angels. But worship is sternly forbidden to all but God alone. The worshipping of angels is forbidden, the intruding into those things we have not seen (See Col. 2:18).

When the Apostle John in his Apocalyptic vision fell at the feet of the angel to worship him, we read how he was rebuked:

  “See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: WORSHIP GOD” (Rev. 19:10).

The following will show the very subtle way the worship of the Virgin Mary is inculcated in the minds of the young. Father Chiniquy puts on record his experience as a child in this direction:

  “One day the priest said to me, ‘Stand up, my child, in order to answer the many important questions which I have to ask you.’ I stood up.
  “‘My child,’ he said, ‘when you have been guilty of some fault at home, who was the first to punish you—your father or your mother?’
  “After a few moments of hesitation I answered, ‘My father.’
  “‘Now, my child, tell me who punished you most severely—your father or mother?’
  “‘My father,’ I said, without hesitation.
  “‘Further, when you deserved to be chastised, did not one sometimes come between you and your father’s rod?’
  “‘Yes,’ I said, ‘mother did that very often, and saved me from severe punishments more than once.’
  “‘One question more. When your father was coming to whip you, did you not throw yourself in the arms of someone to escape?’
  “‘Yes, sir, when guilty of something, more than once, I threw myself into my mother’s arms as soon as I saw my father coming to whip me. She begged pardon for me and pleaded so well that I often escaped punishment.’
  “‘You have answered well,’ said the priest.
  “Then, turning to the children, he continued: ‘You have a Father and a mother in heaven, dear children. Your Father is Jesus and your mother is Mary. Do not forget that a mother’s heart is always more tender and more prone to mercy than that of a father.’
  “‘Often you offend your Father by your sins; you make Him angry against you. What takes place in heaven then? Your Father in heaven takes his rod to punish you. He threatens to crush you down with His roaring thunder; He opens the gates of hell to cast you into it and you would have been damned long ago had it not been for your loving mother whom you have in heaven, who has disarmed your angry and irritated Father. When Jesus would punish you as you deserve, the good Virgin Mary hastens to Him and pacifies Him. She places herself between Him and you and prevents Him from smiting you. She speaks in your favour and she asks for your pardon, and she obtains it.’”

The only adjective at all adequate to characterise this teaching is diabolical. It is horrible to deliberately pollute the minds of the tender and young with such utterly false thoughts of the blessed Saviour, who said when here on earth,

  “Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16).

With such teaching in view, Cardinal Manning boasted that, if they had the training of the young when of tender years, they could count upon their adherence to Roman Catholic beliefs all through after-life.

The Saviour has the same tender heart on the throne of God today as when He walked the towns, villages and fields of Palestine. None who came to Him in distress on earth were repulsed, and none who come to Him in Heaven will be repulsed, for He has the same tender heart now as then. To assert that Mary has a more tender heart than our blessed Lord is pure blasphemy.

Alas! Rome worships Mary as she worships Christ. Dr. Wylie says:

  “The same worship is rendered to Mary as to Christ. Churches are built to her honour; her shrines are crowded with devotees; enriched with their gifts; and adorned with their votive offerings. To her prayers are addressed as to a Divine being, and blessings are asked as from one who has power to bestow them. Her votaries are taught to pray, ‘Spare us, good Lady,’ and ‘From all evil, good Lady, deliver us.’ Five annual festivals celebrate her greatness, and keep alive the devotion of her worshippers. In Roman Catholic countries the dawn is ushered in with hymns to her honour; her praises are again chanted at noon, and the day is closed with an Ave Maria sung to the Lady of Heaven” (The Papacy, p. 370).

Names are bestowed upon her which are an insult to our Saviour, to whom alone some of them belong. Here are some of the names given to her:
  Holy Mother of God.
  Most Holy Generator of God.
  Refuge of sinners.
  Gate of Heaven.
  Morning Star.
  Queen of Heaven.
  Queen conceived without sin.
  Ark of the Covenant.
  Queen of Apostles.

Here is an extract from a sermon of St. Bernard, taken from a Breviary of the Church of Rome:

  “There is need of a mediator to the Mediator Christ, nor is there any more useful to us than Mary. Why should human frailty tremble at approaching Mary? There is nothing austere or terrible in her.”

All this is ascribed to a poor fallen creature, most highly honoured surely in being the mother of our Lord according to the flesh, yet a sinner, needing the salvation her Son procured for her by His death of shame upon the cross. Her bones lie mouldering in the grave these eighteen hundred years. All this mariolatry is simply speaking into the air a stream of futile blasphemy. It cannot and does not reach Heaven.


We read:

  “The Council of Trent teaches that ‘the saints who reign together with Christ offer their prayers to God for men’ and that ‘it is a good and useful thing suppliantly to invoke them and to flee to their prayers, help and assistance,’ and that they are ‘impious men who maintain the contrary” (The Papacy. Dr. Wylie, p. 363).

This is what the Council of Trent teaches, but not a line in Scripture is there to support such an idea. The Author of Catholic Belief says:

  “All Christians allow that it is right and useful to ask the prayers of holy persons who are upon earth; it cannot be wrong or useless to ask the prayers of the Saints in heaven, now that they are so near to God and in no danger of offending Him” (Catholic Belief, p. 192).

In this extract the author displays a serious lack of logic. We do not pray to our Christian friends on earth but we ask them to pray for us, and with us. That is quite right. But our friends in Heaven are beyond our reach of a request to pray for us, and we cannot pray to them. How can they hear our prayers? Are they omnipresent, omniscient? We know that they are not. The difference between asking Christian friends to pray for us and praying to saints in Heaven is very obvious. A child can see it.

In the book we have quoted several times, Catholic Belief, there is given a list of saints who have been canonised by the Church of Rome, and we are told that the list could be multiplied a hundredfold. The list given contains 258 names of saints and mediators. How does this list look beside the Scripture:

  “There is one God, and ONE MEDIATOR between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).

Job, speaking of God and himself, in despair of a solution of his troubles, cried out:

  “Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:33).

Who is great enough to lay his hand upon God in all His supreme holiness, and then upon the wretched sinner, needing pardon and cleansing? None but a Divine person can do that. Jesus was “God manifest in the flesh.” He was and is Divine, the eternal Son in the Unity of the Godhead. And who can lay his hand on the sinful and needy? None but Jesus. The Virgin Mary, the 25,800 canonised saints, cannot put their hand on God as meeting in their persons His claims on a world of sinners, nor can any priest on earth give the pardon of sins. Our Lord, who could put His hand on the loathsome leper and bid the foul disease to depart, who could heal the sick, the blind, the deaf, the lame, who could preach the Gospel to the poor, alone can put His loving hand of pardon and forgiveness on the sinner.

We learn a great lesson by what took place on the Mount of Transfiguration. When Peter saw Moses and Elias he proposed three tabernacles; one for the Lord, one for Moses and one for Elias. He seemed to wish to put the three on an equality. What was the answer, but a gracious rebuke? A bright cloud overshadowed the disciples, and a voice out of the cloud was heard, saying:

  “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye HIM” (Matt. 17:5).

The disciples fell on their faces and were sore afraid. Our Lord touched them, and bad them not to be afraid. Then we read:

  “And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save JESUS ONLY” (v. 8).

This surely is a little picture of Heaven. There we shall see, as far as worship is concerned, Jesus ONLY. The Virgin and all the saints that are there will unite with us in seeing Jesus ONLY, as the adored Object of our worship for ever and ever. There will be then, as now, only one Object of worship in Heaven, Jesus ONLY.


It was not till 18th July, 1870, that Rome learned that its Pope was infallible when speaking ex cathedra (Latin, cathedrã seat), which means speaking from the chair or seat, that is the throne in the Consistory, when the ecclesiastical court of cardinals and bishops are officially gathered together. With great pomp this pronouncement was made from the Vatican Council by Pope Pius IX, the 257th occupant of the Papal Chair. If the present pope is infallible, how is it that not all his predecessors were? There was a time when three rival popes claimed the papal chair, and spent their time and energy in cursing each other. That did not look like infallibility.

It is chronicled that this announcement was accompanied by what looked like the stern rebuke of the very elements, for the skies were ominously black with thunder clouds, and the Vatican, where the Consistory was sitting, was lit up with flash after flash of lightning, accompanied by deafening peals of thunder.

It is strange what Scriptures are brought forward to support the dogma of infallibility. We read:

  “To the infallibility of St. Peter and his successors the following texts of Holy Scripture bear testimony: First from St. Luke (22:32), where we read that our Saviour addressed St. Peter in the presence of the other Apostles thus:
  “‘Simon, Simon, behold Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for THEE that THY faith fail not: and THOU being once converted, confirm thy brethren’” (Catholic Belief, p. 39).

We do not suppose that Catholics, who do not generally read their Bibles, will see how grotesquely inappropriate such a Scripture is in this connection. Peter was about to have a very grievous fall, to deny his Lord with oaths and cursing. The Lord, who foresaw this, told him of His high-priestly prayers for him, that he might not sink under the sorrow of his shame, but be restored, and became useful again to his brethren. There is not a word about infallibility, or the power of handing this on to his successors.

Another Scripture quoted is Matthew 16:18, which we have already seen does not refer to Peter as the rock on which the Church was to be built, but to our Lord Himself. Another Scripture is quoted:

  “A third argument is drawn from these words of Jesus Christ addressed to St. Peter: ‘Feed My lambs … feed My lambs … feed My sheep’” (St. John 21:15-17) (Catholic Belief, p. 42).

In these simple words addressed to Peter there is nothing about infallibility, or the power to hand it on to successors in the papal chair. As an argument, it is quite beside the mark. Keen minds in the Church of Rome must be aware that all these pretensions are quite foreign to Scripture.


To note the following dates is enough to explode the pretensions of Rome.

  “We first read of the title of universal Bishop (at Rome) in A.D. 606; of the canonical authority of the Apocrypha, and Vulgate, and traditions as articles of faith, at the Council of Trent, in the 16th century; of the use of the Latin tongue in worship to the exclusion of the vernacular tongue in the 7th century (666). Transubstantiation was first taught in the 8th century. In the 12th, the Lord’s supper was mutilated by the establishment of communion in one kind. In the 12th the doctrine of Seven Sacraments was first taught. The doctrines of the meritorious virtue of penance, of purgatory, and prayers for the dead, date no earlier than the 7th century, and were not positively affirmed till the year 1140. The power of granting indulgences was not claimed by the popes till the 12th century. Auricular confession was first enjoined by the 4th Lateran Council in the 13th century. The celibacy of the clergy as universal and compulsory, was ordained at the end of the 4th century and was confirmed by Gregory VII at the end of the 11th” (The Bible Hand-Book. Joseph Angus, D.D., pp. 208-209).

Certainly none of these things were known or practised in the apostolic age. If these things were divinely accredited, the Apostles, who knew our Lord so intimately, would have surely known about them.


The late Cardinal Manning, once an archdeacon in the Church of England, who became a pervert to Rome, gave expression to the following strange claims:

  “I acknowledge no civil power; I am the subject of no prince; and I claim more than this. I claim to be the supreme judge and director of the consciences of men. Of the peasants that till the fields and of the prince that sits on the throne; of the household that lives in the shade of privacy, and the legislator that makes laws for kingdoms. I am sole, last, supreme judge of what is right and wrong. Moreover we declare, affirm, define, and pronounce it to be necessary to salvation to every human creature, to be subject to the Roman Pontiff” (Tablet, Oct. 9th, 1864).

These are proud words, and as hateful and wicked as they are proud. Did the Apostles ever make such claims? How different is the language of the Apostle Peter:

  “FEAR GOD. HONOUR THE KING.” (1 Peter 2:17).

The Apostle Paul is likewise insistent on the same lines:

  “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God … For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil … Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake” (Rom. 13:1-5).
  “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work” (Titus 3:1).

Evidently Cardinal Manning set these Scriptures at defiance. Can there be any confidence in the loyalty of a man with such sentiments, claiming to be the subject of no prince? A religion that can take such an arrogant stand is a menace to the land in which it operates.

Cardinal Manning, in addressing the English Roman Catholic prelates, said:

  “It is yours, right reverend fathers, to subjugate and to subdue, to bend and break the will of an imperious race, the will which, as the will of Rome of old, rules over nations and people, invincible and inflexible” (The Bible or the Church? Sir Robert Anderson, p. 108).

Is this the language of a loyal subject of the realm? Is it the language of a follower of Him, who was meek and lowly in heart? Woe betide any land that gets under the heel of Rome.


It is more than startling to see the close resemblance between that form of Buddhism called Lamaism, prevailing in Tibet and Mongolia, and Romanism. Dr. Rhys Davids thus describes it:

  “Lamaism, indeed with its shaven priests, its bells, its rosaries, its images, and holy water, and gorgeous dresses; its service with double choirs, and processions, and creeds, and mystic rites, and incense, in which the laity are spectators only; its abbots and monks, and nuns of many grades, its worship of the double Virgin, and of the saints and angels; its fasts, confessions, purgatory, its images, its idols, and its pictures; its huge monasteries and its gorgeous cathedrals, its powerful hierarchy, its cardinals, its pope, bears outwardly at least a strong resemblance to Romanism, in spite of the essential difference to its teachings and of its mode of thought” (Buddhism, Dr. Rhys Davids, ch. 9).

Commenting upon this, Sir Robert Anderson asks the question:

  “Is it any wonder that when Roman Catholic missionaries settled in certain provinces in China, they were amazed to find all the externals of their own religion ready to their hand; and that a change of images and nomenclature alone seemed necessary to ‘Christianise’ the native cult?” (The Bible or the Church? p. 58).

The similarities between the two systems cannot possibly be the result of mere chance. The items are far too numerous to allow of that. They surely show that the same evil power, even of that of Satan, is the instigator of both systems.


Still more intimately does Romanism spring from Babylonish paganism. We must remember that what pagan Rome practised was derived from Babylon. The Emperor Constantine turned the empire from the idol worship of Babylon to nominal Christianity. The more one looks into such matters, the more one is convinced of the subtlety of Satan, who, finding Christianity taking root, owing to the labours of the Apostles, sought to counteract and destroy it by covering paganism with a thin veneer of Christian terms and doctrines, but paganism still at the bottom.

Sir George Sinclair, Author of Letters to Protestants of Scotland, wrote:

  “Romanism is a refined system of Christianised heathenism, and chiefly differs from its prototype in being more treacherous, more cruel, more dangerous, more intolerant” (First Series, p. 121).

This is the studied opinion of a writer of great ability and industry. The Author of The Two Babylons endorses this opinion. He writes:

  “Popery boasts of being the ‘old religion’: and truly from what we have seen, it appears that it is ancient indeed. It can trace its lineage far beyond the era of Christianity, back over 4,000 years, to near the period of the Flood, and the building of the Tower of Babel” (The Two Babylons. Hyslop, p. 287).

The late Revd. Alexander Hyslop’s book is monumental, and exhibits a vast amount of careful research. His facts can be relied upon. He has patiently shown in a most convincing fashion that such items of Romish doctrine as baptismal regeneration, justification by works, penance as a satisfaction of God’s justice, the unbloody sacrifice of the mass, extreme unction, purgatory, prayers for the dead, were all derived from Babylon. It is extraordinary that Rome should claim that Peter’s sending the salutation of the Church at Babylon was a cryptic allusion to Rome. Perhaps there was some truth in this, but it was spiritually, and not geographically.

It is recorded of Linacer, a distinguished physician in the reign of Henry VIII, a bigoted Romanist, that on studying the New Testament for the first time, after a while he tossed the book impatiently from him, and with a great oath exclaimed, “Either this book is not true or we are not Christians.” It has been truly said that is passing from the New Testament to the Roman Catholic Breviary, you pass from light to darkness.

Papal Rome assimilated the image worship of pagan Rome. Temples dedicated to heathen deities were taken over and rededicated to St. Peter, St. Paul, etc. Venus was changed to the Virgin Mary. The image of Christ replaced Jupiter.


Does Scripture allude to Roman Catholicism? If the reader will follow the next five or six pages with his Bible opened at Revelation 17, he will find it difficult to see how it can refer to anything else. Let us pick out a few items, and compare them with Roman Catholicism, and we shall find they tally one with another, leaving us in no doubt that Revelation 17 refers to Roman Catholicism, and to nothing else.

We begin with an invitation:

  “Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sits upon many waters” (v. 1).

Here we have introduced to us, in symbolic language, a woman, characterised as “the great whore.” The next verse sets forth the enormity of her sins. She is accused of having committed fornication with the kings of the earth, and that the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the intoxicating wine of her fornications.

The writer James tells us what spiritual fornication consists of, the Spirit of God taking this terrible carnal sin to express the Divine detestation of the Church seeking the alliance and friendship of the world. Scripture uses strong language:

  “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).
  “Thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from Thee” (Ps. 73:27).

It is perfectly well known that Rome has ever sought to dominate the nations, has aimed for political power as well as spiritual. At this moment the Pope is the Sovereign head of the Vatican city, and reckons himself higher than the reigning sovereigns and presidents of the world. His pomp and palaces are utterly unlike the lowly Jesus, who had not where to lay His head in the days of His flesh. Roman Catholicism is the only professing Christian body that sets out for political power, the better to enforce her dogmas and claims on the nations. Rome clearly is guilty of unabashed spiritual fornication.

Does not the great whore sit on many waters? Is Catholic, which means universal, not the proud name she takes to herself? Does she not boast of having adherents in every part of the world, especially represented by millions of worshippers in Europe and the Americas? There is no other professing Christian body that can claim such a following.

We are told this great whore is full of names of blasphemy. The Pope dares to call himself the Vicar of Christ, the Light of the world, the King of glory, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, a title that belongs alone to our Lord. We have already enumerated some of the blasphemous names given to the Virgin Mary, who is called by Romanists the Mother of God, Advocate of sinners, Refuge of sinners, Gate of Heaven, Most Faithful, Most Merciful. Are there not titles in this list that belong to the Lord alone?

That this is so is illustrated by the following:

  “In the dream of St. Bernard—which forms the subject of an altar-piece in the church at Milan—two ladders were seen reaching from earth to heaven. At the top of one of the ladders stood Christ, and at the top of the other stood Mary. Of those who attempted to enter heaven by the ladder of Christ, not one succeeded—all fell back. Of those who ascended by the ladder of Mary not one failed. The Virgin, prompt to succour, stretched out her hand; and thus aided, the aspirants ascended with ease” (Morning among the Jesuits, p. 56).

The whore of Revelation 17 was arrayed in purple and scarlet. Does this not remind you of the scarlet hat and robes of the Cardinals of Rome, and also of the robes of the Romish priests, purple being a favourite colour with them? Then we read of the whore being decked with gold, precious stones and pearls. You may go to many a shrine and see images of the Virgin and of others all covered with gold, silver and precious stones.

We have heard the story of the Pope in the Middle Ages who was showing St. Thomas Aquinas the splendour of the Vatican, including immense displays of gold, silver and precious stones. Said the Pope with a courtly smile, “You see, Thomas, the Church cannot now say what it said in early times, ‘Silver and gold have I none?’” “No, nor can it say, ‘Rise up and walk’”, was the quick and pointed reply, implying the lack of spiritual power in the Church.

It is interesting to know that the celebrated Italian statesman, Crispi, distinguished between Roman Catholicism and Christianity. In a speech in the House of Deputies he made the oracular statement: “The day is coming when Christianity will kill Roman Catholicism.” We next get a gold cup in the hand of this woman, full of abominations and filthiness of her fornications. Not only is Rome notorious for spiritual fornication, but for the scandals of a celibate priesthood, which are too well known to be denied. They are matters of history affecting even the Popes.

We read of Pope Paul III, the contemporary of King Henry VIII:

  “This ‘Vicar of Christ’ so far from being ashamed of his immoralities, flaunted them in the face of the world. The Duchies of Parma and Piacenza he conferred upon his illegitimate son Lewis, and he made provision for two of his schoolboy grandsons by appointing them cardinals. They were aged 15 and 14 respectively. Julius III, who as Cardinal Del Monte, had presided for Paul III at the Council of Treat, made a cardinal of a boy whom he had brought into his house on account of his taking a fancy to him on the stage, and whom he employed in keeping his monkey-house. Such were the men that settled the creed of Christendom’” (The Bible or the church? Sir Robert Anderson, p. 72).

Next we read in our chapter:

  “And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her I wondered with a great admiration” (v. 6).

Looking widely at history this can only apply to Rome. Which has been the great persecuting professing Christian body but Rome? Read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs for proof of this. Who has not read of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew?

  “The leading Protestants of France were invited to Paris by the French King, to celebrate the marriage of his sister. They had been granted solemn and oath bound pledges of safety, but at midnight at the Festival of St. Bartholomew (21st August, 1572) the signal was given for their butchery. Ten thousand Huguenots, men, women and children, including five hundred persons of rank, were massacred. Their mangled bodies were flung into the streets; the gutters were choked with their blood. In other towns like butcheries were perpetrated. According to the estimate of Sully, the defenceless victims numbered 70,000. But when Charles, repenting too late of his hideous guilt, sought to palliate it by inventing charges of political conspiracy against the Huguenots, the ‘Vicar of Christ’ rebuked his repentance by celebrating a Te Deum, and ordering public rejoicings in honour of the crime” (The Bible or the Church? Sir Robert Anderson, p. 166).

When the tidings of this terrible massacre of innocent people, for no other crime than that they were Protestants, and had an open Bible, reached Rome, the cannon of St. Angelo was fired in celebration, the city was illuminated, and Pope Gregory XIII went in procession to all the Churches and offered thanksgiving at the shrine of every saint.

Who has not heard of the terrible Inquisition? It was set up in Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Bohemia and extended as far as Syria and India. We read:

  “Its victims were apprehended commonly at midnight. The familiars of the Holy Office surrounded the door of the house, whispered the name of the tribunal on whose errand they had come, and the inmates, transfixed by the dreadful words, delivered up their dearest relatives without pity or remorse. The person apprehended was consigned to a dungeon, generally below ground; he knew not his accuser; he was not even told of what crime he was suspected; and when he refused to incriminate himself the most horrible tortures were employed to extort confession … He knew not his sentence even, till, led forth to the auto dá fé, he read it for the first time in the terrible symbols on his dress, or in the dreadful preparation of pile and faggot for his execution” (The Papacy. Dr. Wylie, pp. 446-447).

The number slain by this persecuting body in about 1,200 years is estimated at 50,000,000, giving an average of over 40,000 annually.

Rome is unchanged today. But she dares not go to such lengths today in Protestant lands because of the power of public opinion and of reprisal, but in backward countries which are still fully Roman Catholic you will find the same kind of persecution as of old. We give an instance. Within the last fifty years:

  “In 1900, an English missionary, and one of the Brazilian preachers, Pedro Rezende, when leaving a farm-house meeting were attacked by a large mob incited by a priest. He had evidently given his followers too much caxaça (a type of whisky made from sugar cane), for their aim as so unsteady that their horses received the blows intended for the preachers, with the result that they rode right through the mob and escaped injury” (Stories from Brazil. W.Anglin, p. 92).

Finally the great whore is seen as sitting on seven mountains. Now we all know that Rome is known as “the city of seven hills,” and this further helps to identify Rome as being portrayed in this chapter. Is it any wonder that the pen of Divine inspiration traces such a terrible description of the great whore?

  “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (v. 5).

It has been urged by Romish apologists that the Protestants burned Roman Catholics in the reign of Queen Elisabeth. This is true, but with a very great difference. They were not burned because they were Roman Catholics, but because they plotted against the state and its safety. They were destroyed on the ground of high treason. Romanists cannot point to anything outside their system comparable to the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, and the horrors of the Inquisition with its thumb screws, its pulleys for dislocating joints, called the corda, the queen of torments; its veglia resembling a smith’s anvil, with spike on top, ending in an iron die, its trap-doors, etc. Romanists in Protestant countries are unmolested in following their religion, as long as they do not infringe the laws of the land in which they dwell.


In answer to this question we would turn the attention of our readers to Revelation 2:18-29, where we get the address to the Church in Thyatira. There we read what was the actual condition of that assembly at the time when the Apostle John wrote. At the same time it is the considered opinion of many students of Scripture that the addresses to the seven assemblies in Asia, besides describing their actual state in the eyes of the Son of Man, give us a prophetical sketch of Church History as it unfolded itself down the ages. When we get to the address to the Church at Thyatira we are struck with the similarity there is between that and Revelation 17, which we have just considered. The similarity is so great that we can only come to the conclusion that the Church at Thyatira prophetically considered, represents the Romish Church.

In this address we read of Jezebel, lurid figure in Old Testament history, calling herself a prophetess, seducing the servants of the Lord to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. The threat is made that she would be thrown into a bed of tribulation with her guilty paramours unless she repented. We have no hesitation in tracing the Romish Church in this description.

There is one verse in this address that will answer the question, Can a Roman Catholic be a Christian?

  “But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come” (Rev. 2:24-25).

Here are two qualifications made: (1) Such as do not hold “this doctrine.” (2) Such as are ignorant of the subtlety of Satan. In other words, any Christians found in the Romish fold are Christians, not because of the system, but in spite of the system. If Satan has sought to destroy Christianity by covering paganism with a thin veneer of Christian teaching, thank God there is in that thin veneer something of the Word of God, which He can graciously use to the blessing of souls. Difficult as it is to get hold of the Word of God in Romish circles, still they outwardly acknowledge the Scriptures, and have at least the Douay Bible in their midst. They teach the Deity of the Lord Jesus, His gracious Manhood, His atoning work on the cross, and then spoil all this with their dogmas that so largely contradict the simplicity of the Gospel, and smother it under their ornate ritualism, their services largely conducted in the Latin tongue, not understood by the common people.

Yet in spite of all this God works in souls, and we are assured there are a number of sincere Christians in the Romish system.

We have testimony as to this from the dark middle ages. We are indebted to the late Mrs. Frances Bevan for translations of many beautiful hymns dating from pre-reformation times, hymns which speak of the heart-breathing desires of love, and adoring worship of the Saviour from many a lonely Christian scattered up and down the land.

She drew attention to the hymns of:
  Gertrude, the Nun (1256-1330);
  Dr. Johann Tauler (1291-1361);
  Heinrich Suso (1295-1365);
  and of others. She wrote:

  “How distinct was the witness of those called ‘the Friends of God’ may be easily seen by comparing their writings with those of the true servants of God, who remained under the influence of Roman Catholicism only.
  “A comparison of Thomas A. Kempis with Tauler will serve as an instance of this contrast. In the case of the latter, the present possession and enjoyment of eternal life, and of the riches of Christ; in the case of the former, an earnest and true desire to attain to that possession. In the latter, forgiveness, peace and joy, the starting point; in the former, the goal to be reached by strenuous effort. The joy of Heaven, Christ in glory known and rejoiced in whilst here below, may be said to mark the Friends of God of old” (Hymns of Ter Steegen and others. Mrs. Frances Bevan, Second Series, p. 6 preface).

We will now give just a line or two of the poetry of these eminent Christians, in spite of their being brought up and surrounded by the paganised superstition of Romanism.

Take the case of Gertrude the Nun:
  “Lord, not through works of righteousness,
  The works that I have done,
  But through the glory of Thy grace,
  The merit of Thy Son.”

Not a trace of Roman Catholicism in these beautiful lines.

Here is a verse from Heinrich Suso:
  “For ever through endless ages,
  Thy cross and Thy sorrow shall be,
  The glory, the song and the sweetness
  That makes heaven heaven to me.”

Not a word about the Virgin Mary and the countless mediators of Rome. The poet sees “Jesus only.”

Dr. Johann Tauler wrote of those led by the Spirit of God:

  “It is no longer they who work, but God who works in them … far above all sense and nature and reason. Were a man to do nothing, else for a whole year but yield himself up to the work of God within him, he would never have spent a year so well and with such blessing.”

Here we have deep and spiritual ministry with no taint of Romish superstition in it.

We remember walking with a friend in Ireland some years ago. He pointed out an old countryman, walking a few yards ahead. He said, “Quicken your steps and catch up with that old man. He has never been to a Protestant place of worship in his life, but talk to him and you will be surprised at his knowledge of the Bible.” We quickened our steps, and were soon talking to the old man. He quoted Scripture freely in a most edifying manner, showing a deep spiritual knowledge of the Word of God. We could only rejoice in meeting a brother in Christ. But alas! he was a very great exception to the rule of complete ignorance of the Bible among Romanists. If only the Bible were freely circulated in popish lands, many would be delivered from Roman Catholic superstition.

One last word. We have quoted a good deal from Catholic Belief, a Roman Catholic Manual, blessed by Cardinal Manning. It evidently is meant to help Protestants to become Roman Catholics, for five pages are devoted to explaining how a Protestant should apply to a Roman priest, and the necessary steps taken for admission. It is not surprising that in this book things should be put in such a way as is calculated to tempt Protestants. The dark side of popery is kept well in the background. All looks more or less fair and reasonable. We have known Roman Catholics being most charming to Protestants, who in other days would have harried them to the Inquisition, and would today, we are assured, if it were in their power.

There are twenty pages in this Manual headed by the words, Justification by faith alone. This looks very familiar and attractive. Is this what the Roman Catholics teach, Protestants might well ask in astonishment? We will give a closing extract from one of these pages.

  “But regeneration, and therefore justification and pardon of sins, given for the first time are clearly attached by our Lord to the Sacrament of Baptism (St. John 3:5), which is emphatically styled by St. Paul ‘the laver of regeneration’ (Titus 3:5); and again our Lord Jesus Christ has plainly and peremptorily attached the pardoning of sins at other times to the sacramental absolution of the priest (St. John 20:21-23), and not to mere trusting; though hope or trust in God is in itself one of the necessary dispositions never to be omitted on coming to the Sacrament of Penance, as the Catholic Church teaches” (Catholic Belief, p. 367).

If the reader has plainly grasped the clear meaning of Scriptures scattered through these pages, he will see the subtlety of the above extract. Rome takes back with one hand what she professes to give with the other. Where is “Justification by faith alone” in this quotation? We look in vain for it. It heads the chapter, but it is not in the text.

The strong command of Scripture reads plainly:

  “Come out of her My people, that ye not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto Heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities” (Rev. 18:4-5).